While beauty products may seem like the kind that shoppers would prefer to ‘try before they buy’, there’s growing digital engagement with the sector.
L’Oreal has reported its eCommerce sales were up 33% in 2016, with CEO Jean-Paul Agon previously announcing that ‘eCommerce is not the cherry on the cake – it’s the new cake.’
As the online channel continues to fuel sales, we explore the five critical pillars of success for beauty brands on the digital shelf.
1. Monitor your competitors online
One of the biggest dangers is focusing only on your products in a vacuum and not fully understanding who the category best sellers are online (not necessarily those who are winning in the brick-and-mortar world).
One continuing trend we see across many categories is the growth of ‘challenger’ brands which are successfully driving sales in the online channel – and the beauty category is no exception.
Profitero’s FastMover reports, which monitor the best-selling products across key categories on Amazon UK every month, reveal that Real Techniques has the highest number of products in the Top 100 Best Sellers for the beauty category.
Best-Selling Beauty Brands on Amazon UK, January 2017
# of products in Amazon UK’s – Top 100 Beauty Best Sellers
Source: Profitero Amazon UK FastMovers Beauty Report, January 2017
2. Drive discoverability through search
Findability is a key component of any successful eCommerce strategy, with more and more consumers choosing Amazon to start their product search. Three-in-four consumers say Amazon is their #1 destination for beauty products, according to AT Kearney.
Best-in-class product titles and descriptions use the same language your shoppers are using to describe your products. Be sure to optimize your product titles and descriptions with seasonal keywords (e.g Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day) to improve your organic performance, and consider sponsoring search results or category pages so shoppers can easily find your products.
3. Maximize conversion through optimized product content
To give your brand the best chance of maximizing conversion on Amazon, it’s essential your product images are high-resolution, front-facing and with a white background. Make use of bullet points to call out key product features, and use A+ (enhanced) content, such as video and rich media, to create engaging content that builds trust and confidence with your shopper.
4. Increase sales through ratings and reviews
Product ratings and reviews are another key area to help drive sales. There’s a direct link between the number of online product reviews and sales, according to Bazaarvoice. At Profitero, we analyzed Amazon in the US, UK and Germany, and found the top 10 best-selling beauty brands in each market has a significantly higher number of product reviews than the top 100 overall:
Top 10 SKUs – # Product Reviews
Top 100 SKUs – # Product Reviews
Source: Profitero Amazon FastMover Beauty Reports, December 2016
Monitoring consumer sentiment is also essential for NPD (new product development) to quickly highlight any product issues or areas for future development.
A good example is InstaNatural, a beauty brand which launched exclusively on Amazon in 2013.
“Because we’re so Amazon-driven, social proof for us relates to reviews – more specifically, product reviews from our customers. The reason that’s so important is because that’s how we drive as a business. We’re very lean, we’re nimble, we’re fast-acting and this is what really sets us apart from other big-name brands in the world. We’re able to gauge consumer interest about products and get that product to market faster than our P&G competitors.”
5. Master the basics: always be available
Ensuring your product is in stock is probably the most vital area. You’ve done the hard work of creating best quality images, optimising your titles for discoverability, and driving product reviews – but if your products simply aren’t available, you’re never going to win online. You can do this manually through daily monitoring of your stock levels via Amazon’s Vendor Central, or by using automated tools like Profitero.